|Publication number||US7592813 B2|
|Application number||US 11/930,316|
|Publication date||Sep 22, 2009|
|Filing date||Oct 31, 2007|
|Priority date||Apr 6, 2005|
|Also published as||US7309989, US20060226841, US20080048660|
|Publication number||11930316, 930316, US 7592813 B2, US 7592813B2, US-B2-7592813, US7592813 B2, US7592813B2|
|Inventors||Eddy Benjemin Boskamp, Ronald D. Watkins, Glen P. Koste|
|Original Assignee||General Electric Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (31), Referenced by (14), Classifications (5), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a continuation of and claims priority of U.S. Ser. No. 10/907,582 filed Apr. 6, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and, more particularly, to a wireless RF coil power supply for an RF module configured to acquire MR signals from a receive coil of an MRI system.
When a substance such as human tissue is subjected to a uniform magnetic field (polarizing field B0), the individual magnetic moments of the spins in the tissue attempt to align with this polarizing field, but precess about it in random order at their characteristic Larmor frequency. If the substance, or tissue, is subjected to an RF magnetic field (excitation field B1) which is in the x-y plane and which is near the Larmor frequency, the net aligned moment, or “longitudinal magnetization”, MZ, may be rotated, or “tipped”, into the x-y plane to produce a net transverse magnetic moment Mt. A signal is emitted by the excited spins after the excitation signal B1 is terminated and this signal may be received and processed to form an image.
When utilizing these signals to produce images, magnetic field gradients (Gx, Gy, and Gz) are employed. Typically, the region to be imaged is scanned by a sequence of measurement cycles in which these gradients vary according to the particular localization method being used. The resulting set of received NMR signals are digitized and processed to reconstruct the image using one of many well known reconstruction techniques.
Generally, the RF coil assembly of an MRI system includes a transmit coil to create the B1 field and a receive coil used in conjunction with the transmit coil to detect or receive the signals from the excited spins in an imaged object. Typically, each receive coil of the RF coil assembly is connected to the receive chain of the MRI system via a coaxial transmission line or cable. Additionally, the receive coils of the RF coil assembly are typically supplied power through the coaxial cables. As the number of receive coils increases, the number of coaxial cables increases to match; thus, a large bundle of coaxial cables results that can become uncomfortable for an imaging patient when laid across the patient and difficult to manage or maneuver.
Further, interactions such as parallel resonance and parasitic capacitance between the transmit coil and the coaxial cables can cause standing waves and induced current in the coaxial cables. Current induced in the coaxial cables can cause the coaxial cables to become extremely heated, which furthers patient uncomfortability.
It would therefore be desirable to have a system capable of supplying wireless power to an RF receive coil assembly as well as a system wirelessly connecting the RF receive coil assembly to a receiver of an MR scanner.
The present invention is directed to a system and method overcoming the aforementioned problems by providing a wireless power supply arranged to provide power to operate an RF coil assembly. The wireless power supply operates without the use of a battery or a wired connection external to a bore of a magnet assembly of an MRI system. In one embodiment, the present invention incorporates a coil configured to pick up and convert RF signals into electrical energy. In another embodiment, a photovoltaic cell is configured to convert light energy into electrical energy.
Therefore, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, an MR system is disclosed that includes an RF coil operable to transmit or receive RF signals and located within a bore of a magnet, and a converter to convert RF signals to digital signals. The MR system further includes a power supply that provides power to at least operate the RF coil and converter. The power supply is operable without use of a battery and without use of a wired connection external to the bore of the magnet.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, an MR assembly is disclosed that includes an RF coil operable in at least one of a transmit mode and a receive mode, and configured to be located within a bore of a magnet. A transmitter is operably connected to the RF coil and wirelessly transmits MR signals acquired by the RF coil when operating in a receive mode. The MR assembly also includes a power supply that provides power to at least operate the transmitter and the RF coil. The power supply has at least one photovoltaic cell and a fiber optic cable to receive a beam of light from a light source external to the bore of the magnet and translate the beam of light to the power supply.
In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, an MR apparatus includes a first RF coil for transmitting an RF signal inside a magnet bore and a second RF coil placed adjacent to an imaging subject positioned inside the magnet bore. The second RF coil operates in a receive mode to receive MR signals from the imaging subject. A signal converter is included to convert MR signals into digital signals. The MR apparatus further includes a rechargeable power supply connected to the second RF coil and the signal converter that supplies power thereto and a pickup coil connected to the rechargeable power supply and to recharge the power supply with electrical energy generated from the RF signal.
Various other features and advantages of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description and the drawings.
The drawings illustrate one preferred embodiment presently contemplated for carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
The present invention will be described with respect to a whole body RF coil assembly of an MRI system having a transmit coil to create a B1 field and a receive coil used in conjunction with the transmit coil to detect or receive the signals from excited spins of nuclei in an imaged object. However, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is also applicable with local and surface coils.
The system control 32 includes a set of modules connected together by a backplane 32 a. These include a CPU module 36 and a pulse generator module 38 which connects to the operator console 12 through a serial link 40. It is through link 40 that the system control 32 receives commands from the operator to indicate the scan sequence that is to be performed. The pulse generator module 38 operates the system components to carry out the desired scan sequence and produces data which indicates the timing, strength and shape of the RF pulses produced, and the timing and length of the data acquisition window. The pulse generator module 38 connects to a set of gradient amplifiers 42, to indicate the timing and shape of the gradient pulses that are produced during the scan. The pulse generator module 38 can also receive patient data from a physiological acquisition controller 44 that receives signals from a number of different sensors connected to the patient, such as ECG signals from electrodes attached to the patient. And finally, the pulse generator module 38 connects to a scan room interface circuit 46 which receives signals from various sensors associated with the condition of the patient and the magnet system. It is also through the scan room interface circuit 46 that a patient positioning system 48 receives commands to move the patient to the desired position for the scan.
The gradient waveforms produced by the pulse generator module 38 are applied to the gradient amplifier system 42 having Gx, Gy, and Gz amplifiers. Each gradient amplifier excites a corresponding physical gradient coil in a gradient coil assembly generally designated 50 to produce the magnetic field gradients used for spatially encoding acquired signals. The gradient coil assembly 50 forms part of a magnet assembly 52 which includes a polarizing magnet 54, a bore 55, and a whole-body RF coil assembly 56. Preferably, assembly 56 includes a transmit coil to create a B1 field and a receive coil used in conjunction with the transmit coil to detect or receive the signals from excited spins of nuclei in the imaged object.
A transceiver module 58 in the system control 32 produces pulses which are amplified by an RF amplifier 60 and coupled to the transmit coil of RF coil assembly 56 by a transmit/receive switch 62. Transceiver module 58 wirelessly transmits phase information to a frequency converter (shown in
The MR signals picked up by the receive coil of RF coil assembly 56 and transmitted to wireless receiver 63 are transferred to a memory module 66 in the system control 32. A scan is complete when an array of raw k-space data has been acquired in the memory module 66. This raw k-space data is rearranged into separate k-space data arrays for each image to be reconstructed, and each of these is input to an array processor 68 which operates to Fourier transform the data into an array of image data. This image data is conveyed through the serial link 34 to the computer system 20 where it is stored in memory, such as disk storage 28. In response to commands received from the operator console 12, this image data may be archived, such as on the tape drive 30, or it may be further processed by the image processor 22 and conveyed to the operator console 12 and presented on the display 16.
Referring now to
A frequency converter 78 downconverts the signals to reduce the required bandwidth of the ADC used in digitization of the signals from the digital RF module 70 to the wireless receiver 63. Downconversion requires phase information from the transmit pulse carrier. In a preferred embodiment, transceiver module 58 wirelessly transmits the phase information to a wireless receiver 80, which supplies the phase information to the frequency converter 78.
Wireless transmission, as used herein, comprises a transmission medium without electrically conductive wires. In this way, the transmission medium does not contain electrically conductive wires that adversely interact with RF pulses from the transmit coil. The wireless transmission, being free of electrically conductive wires, prevents the RF pulses from the transmit coil from inducing currents on electrically conductive wires placed in the vicinity of an imaging patient. Modes of wirelessly transmitting signals include RF signals transmitted through the air and light signals transmitted between an optical transmitter and receiver pair across fiber optic cables. Other modes of transmitting signals without the use of electrically conductive wires are similarly contemplated and are considered within the scope of the present invention.
Still referring to
Power to the components 72-86 of the digital RF module 70 is generated wirelessly and without the use of a battery, which converts chemical energy into electrical energy. In one embodiment and as shown in
A power bus 95 connects power supply 88 to receive coil 72 to provide a voltage reference. Power bus 95 further connects power supply 88 to preamplifier 74, frequency converter 78, wireless receiver 80, ADC 82, wireless transmitter 84, signal modulator 86, and other components in digital RF module 70 that require electrical power. Power supply 88 supplies power to power bus 95 for power distribution thereacross.
It is contemplated that rectifier bridge 98 may draw enough current out of receive coil 72 to cause an imaging artifact. As such, a separate pickup coil 106 can be used as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, pickup coil 106 is a multi-turn loop of wire in which voltage is induced by gradient fields. In this case, pickup coil 106 is constructed to be sensitive to a low KHz range where the main frequency associated with the leading and trailing edges of the gradient pulses is located. The induced voltage is rectified by rectifier bridge 108, stored in a capacitor 110, and regulated by voltage regulator 112 for supplying power to the components 74-86 over power bus 114.
The present invention is directed to an apparatus whereby a batteryless power system provides power to the components of a digital RF module. The batteryless system avoids the typical wired connections external to the bore of the magnet assembly of conventional MRI systems. As such, patient discomfort typically caused by placing a large bundle of wires across the patient is eliminated. Also, in one preferred embodiment, fiber optic cables are advantageously used to supply power. Moreover, these fiber optic cables advantageously output less heat compared to conventional wire-based power supplies.
Therefore, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, an MR system is disclosed that includes an RF coil operable to transmit or receive RF signals and located within a bore of a magnet, and a converter to convert RF signals to digital signals. The MR system further includes a power supply that provides power to at least operate the RF coil and converter. The power supply is operable without use of a battery and without use of a wired connection external to the bore of the magnet.
In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, an MR assembly is disclosed that includes an RF coil operable in at least one of a transmit mode and a receive mode, and configured to be located within a bore of a magnet. A transmitter is operably connected to the RF coil and wirelessly transmits MR signals acquired by the RF coil when operating in a receive mode. The MR assembly also includes a power supply that provides power to at least operate the transmitter and the RF coil. The power supply has at least one photovoltaic cell and a fiber optic cable to receive a beam of light from a light source external to the bore of the magnet and translate the beam of light to the power supply.
In accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention, an MR apparatus includes a first RF coil for transmitting an RF signal inside a magnet bore and a second RF coil placed adjacent to an imaging subject positioned inside the magnet bore. The second RF coil operates in a receive mode to receive MR signals from the imaging subject. A signal converter is included to convert MR signals into digital signals. The MR apparatus further includes a rechargeable power supply connected to the second RF coil and the signal converter that supplies power thereto and a pickup coil connected to the rechargeable power supply and to recharge the power supply with electrical energy generated from the RF signal.
The present invention has been described in terms of the preferred embodiment, and it is recognized that equivalents, alternatives, and modifications, aside from those expressly stated, are possible and within the scope of the appending claims.
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|U.S. Classification||324/322, 324/318|
|Oct 31, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOSKAMP, EDDY B.;WATKINS, RONALD D.;KOSTE, GLEN P.;REEL/FRAME:020041/0220
Effective date: 20050401
|Nov 24, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Mar 14, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4